Yesterday I completed the Tararua Mountain Race – my fourth. The route this year was from Holdsworth to Kaitoke which is usually a three day tramp. My watch measured the course at 39.26 kilometres with some decent ascent and descent to make the course interesting.
I knew I was not in top form so did not push it too hard during the day and was pleased to finish in my usual, back of the field, position. It was a great day for running in the hills, no wind and not too hot.
While out in the hills I encountered a hunter with the hind quarters of a deer on his shoulders. The two legs were protruding out in front of him and he was taking it slowly up the steep section of the climb from Smith’s Creek. He had shot the deer near Tutewai Hut so he had to carry it 15 kilometres to the road end. His backpack was also full of venison steaks. I said to him it must be quite an effort, and he responded with, not as tough as your day. However, I think I had the easier day.
I also met two mature woman strolling along the track near the road end. They said well done as I passed them, and as I headed down the track they wolf whistled at the muddy, sluggish, tired runner, who was also carrying a few extra kilos. I wondered what their eye sight was like – perhaps I should have recommended my eye surgeon to them….
This was the first outing in the hills for my new eye. I had a cataract operation ten days before the event and the eye surgeon said I would be ok – but don’t get any dust or twigs in the eye. I thought he could have added mud and insects too. I did close the new eye in few places. There was new growth, thick and leafy kanuka near the top of the Cone Saddle and I had to push through the bushy bushes. It is great to run and have the ability to see texture on the ground – I can see the small stones and the contrast of the rooty tracks. Unfortunately the ability to see definition on the running surface was not matched by a quicker time. I think better training rather than surgery is the answer to this issue.
About three hours into the event I tweaked and a bruised my ankle on some “friendly” rocks as I was boulder hopping down the Waiohine River. Ten metres further on, as I was thinking about my semi sore right ankle I hit my left foot hard on a rock. I often lose a toenail after an event but most of time you are unaware of where the impact occurs. However I knew right away that my left foot big toenail was a goner. It hurt. I walked for five minutes or so, before getting back to a run. It meant that every time I knocked it again, the tenderness of the nail was magnified. Although it was sore it was just a matter of keeping on going. Today I took a picture of my feet. It’s not pretty. My wife insists that if I ever went for a pedicure they would a) refuse to do it, or b) charge me 3x the price.
At the end I was just pleased to finish and as usual I had sausages and beer waiting. The sausages were Kase-Griller
from Park Avenue Quality Meats. This is a mild flavoured, smoky cheese sausage which was well received by those at the end. I would rank this sausage along with kabonosy
as an excellent sausage that will appeal to all. This is as a good as it gets.
This was washed down with Yakima Monster from Liberty Brewing Company. This is an APA that is easy on the palate. There is a moderate level of fruitiness and hops. At the end of a sweaty day running it achieved the necessary level of rehydration that I was seeking.
Next year the route will be back to the more challenging Southern Crossing. I look forward to the pleasures of Marchant Ridge.
For a other parts to this series click here